Art for peace: Local students add to Detroit gallery exhibit on children’s rights

Photo provided by artist and organizer Elaine Eikenberry South Range first-grader Julia Ruonavaara, 6, creates an orb for The Visions of Peace exhibition.

HOUGHTON — Joining an international collaboration, area K-12 students are creating art for the Visions of Peace exhibit in Detroit.

The Swords in the Plowshares Art Gallery put out a call for children to create art for an exhibit centered around the UN global charter on the rights of the child.

When area artist Elaine Eikenberry heard about the request she decided to help organize a local contribution. The Copper Country additions are 3-dimensional egg-shaped etched clay pieces created by students.

“The idea behind those (ovoids) is if you tip them in any direction they’re going to stand back upright and I want kids to get the message that they are resilient, that these rights are important and that if they have these they’ll have a better chance,” Eikenberry said.

The UN rights of the child include rights like affection, nutrition, free education, and play. Students were asked to create a representation of a child with those rights and include an “artifact” symbolizing one of the child’s passions.

However, the project isn’t done. The next step will be a canvas and paper addition to go with the ovoids. From 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday area students in grades K-12 can contribute at the Portage Lake District Library.

“If it’s five we’re going to have a great time; If it’s 50 we’re going to have a fabulous time. Whoever shows up it’s going to be good,” Eikenberry said.

For those who want to help but don’t fit within that age range, Eikenberry will be collecting bubble wrap for safe shipping.

“I’ve worked with high schoolers and elementary age kids and they’ve got different reactions to the UN rights. High schoolers tend to perceive this project as something they’re doing for younger children — they don’t see themselves as children,” Eikenberry said, noting that the rights were applied to high school age students as well. “They brought a lot of artistic skill to the table and the first graders brought so much creativity.”

“It was fun to see what the kids came up with,” Eikenberry said.